Table 1: Psychological processes associated with memory.

Description of memory process

RegistrationThe conscious or unconscious perception of stimuli via the sensory organs

EncodingThe initial processing and transfer of perceived information along the relevant sensory relays (nuclei, areae) of the nervous system; short-term storage (4–7 bits or seconds to minutes)

Encoding specificity principleAssumption that specific information (item) is encoded in a specific environmental context and therefore this item can be best retrieved when the same or similar context is present (state-dependent encoding and retrieval of information)

ConsolidationThe processes that bind, associate, and restructure new material for long-term storage (might be aided by sleep)

StorageThe main embedding of new material in the neuronal network (so-called engrams; thought to be a result of protein synthesis and morphological changes)

RetrievalThe activation and recovery of stored material, also termed ecphory;* environmental stimuli or thought processes trigger the process of retrieval/ecphory
 Free recallThe volitional generation of information that occurs without external help, cueing, or aiding (e.g., unaided recall of who the prime minister of the UK is)
 Cued recallRecall that occurs with the help of external stimuli (e.g., recall of a name when told the first letter)
 RecognitionCorrect identification (or selection) of a stimulus when the intact stimulus is presented again together with several other stimuli (choices) that have features or attributes in common with the original (e.g., selection of the correct photograph when shown several similar pictures)
 Primacy effectThe finding that the first items on a long list of encoded items are disproportionally well recalled, indicating that they were already transferred into long-term memory
 Recency effectThe finding that the last items on a long list of encoded items are disproportionally well recalled, indicating their sustained rehearsal in short-term memory, an indicator of short-term memory performance.

Postretrieval reencoding(Conscious) information retrieval leads to immediate reencoding on the basis of present internal and external circumstances (possibly implying a subsequent changed representation)

Postretrieval reconsolidationAfter retrieval, memories are assumed to enter a transient labile phase followed by a process of stabilization

Tulving [67, 68] used the term ecphory to describe the process by which retrieval cues interact with stored information so that an image or a representation of the information in question appears. Ecphory implies a state-dependent retrieval of information (and is consequently affected by mood as well).